Childhood & Early Life
Sophie Thompson was born on January 20, 1962, in Hampstead, London, England, to Phyllida Law and Eric Thompson. Her mother was a popular actor who was best known as the first presenter of a ‘BBC’ broadcast show titled ‘Play School.’ Sophie’s father, Eric, was a writer/actor best known for narrating/writing the children’s series ‘The Magic Roundabout.’
Sophie grew up with her older sister, Emma, who ended up becoming a screenwriter and an actor. Both sisters accompanied their parents on their sets and became enthused about working in the entertainment industry as they grew up.
Although Emma was not initially interested in performance arts, Sophie did theater since a tender age. By the time she was 15 years old, she had already started auditioning for TV and film roles.
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She made her acting debut in 1978, with a small role as a teenager named ‘Penelope’ in five episodes of the series titled ‘A Traveller in Time.’ She then made a small guest appearance in another series, titled ‘Hammer House of Horror’ (1980).
In 1982, she made her film debut with a small role as a mission girl in the British comedy ‘The Missionary.’
Following this, she took a long break and made her comeback with guest roles in single episodes of series such as ‘Casualty,’ ‘Boon,’ and ‘The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes’ in the late 1980s and the early 1990s.
She also made her film comeback with the supporting role of ‘Francesca’ in the 1991 film titled ‘Twenty-One.’ The film was a huge critical success and was showcased at the ‘Sundance Film Festival,’ where it won the ‘Grand Jury Prize.’
In the mid-1990s, she played small roles in series such as ‘Candy Playhouse’ and ‘Performance.’ Her big breakthrough happened in 1994, when she appeared in one of the lead roles in the comedy series titled ‘Nelson’s Column.’ Owing to poor reviews and ratings, the series was canceled after two seasons (12 episodes).
She had a big breakthrough in 1994, when she appeared in a supporting role in the British comedy film titled ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral.’ The film became a massive national and international success, quite unexpectedly. It was the highest-grossing British film back then.
The film received many ‘BAFTA Awards’ and also managed to get two ‘Academy Award’ nominations. The entire cast and crew benefitted from the behemoth success of the film.
In 1995, Sophie appeared in the supporting role of ‘Mary Musgrove’ in the British period drama ‘Persuasion.’ The film received positive reviews and was also a box-office success.
The following year, Sophie appeared in the film ‘Emma,’ based on the Jane Austen classic of the same title. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and also turned out to be a commercial success.
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In 1998, Sophie appeared in yet another period film, ‘Dancing at Lughnasa.’ Sophie played the supporting role of ‘Rose Mundy’ in the film. It was a critical and commercial success.
In the early 2000s, she played a leading role in the sitcom titled ‘So What Now?’ However, the sitcom received poor reception and was canceled after a season (covering eight episodes).
In the early 2000s, she appeared in key roles in films such as ‘Relative Values,’ ‘Gosford Park,’ and ‘Nicholas Nickelby.’ Despite not being commercially successful, her films often received praises from critics.
In 2004, she played the first lead role of her career, in the film titled ‘Fat Slags.’ The film was based on popular comic-strip characters. It got a bad reception and was a huge box-office debacle.
In 2006, she began playing the role of ‘Stella Crawford,’ a negative role, in the long-running British soap opera titled ‘EastEnders.’ She reappeared in the serial for almost a year before her character was excluded from the show.
She also played small/supporting roles in many TV series in the 2000s, such as ‘Doc Martin’ and ‘May Contain Nuts.’ In 2014, she appeared as ‘Sheila’ in the series ‘Detectorists.’ Since 2018, she has been appearing as ‘Rosemary Piper,’ a recurring character in the soap opera titled ‘Coronation Street.’
She has appeared in supporting roles in films such as ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- 1’ and ‘That Day We Sang.’
She has also been active in theater and has worked in plays such as ‘Hamlet,’ ‘Into the Woods,’ ‘Wildest Dreams,’ and ‘Guys and Dolls.’ She has won an ‘Olivier Award’ for her role in the play ‘Into the Woods.’